Enter 30. Newly separated from my common law boyfriend. Quit my job managing a yoga studio run by highly nurturing, supportive women. Joined a fitness company run by three men with athletic backgrounds. Relationship gone, steady paycheque disappeared, denested from my daily support system that I had called my family. Instability at its finest. As I entered this new territory, I was forced to not only find my voice within a new, male-dominated work environment, but also to tear down the old version of who I thought I was and rebuild from scratch.
I knew right out of the gate that clear boundaries needed to be established, especially since there might be gender-based expectations about my role as the “token woman” in this male-run business. “I’m not here to be anyone’s mother” were the words that escaped my mouth during our first meeting. The phrase came out before I could control it. As a woman, there is often pressure to play the role of the nurturer, the supporter, the one who will take care of everyone when times get tough. So it’s no surprise that many women feel forced to strike this balance between being “emotional” and being “composed”, all the while supporting everyone’s needs but our own.
When entering into this new territory as the lone woman, I was also at a point in my life where I was struggling to find my own support, balance and stability. How could I be expected to stabilize and support others if I wasn’t supported myself? How could I demonstrate my value and earn the trust of my colleagues to run their business if I felt unable to run my own life? How could I be taken seriously if I was struggling just to show up? This led me to contemplate deeply what it actually means to find internal strength.
I was working on transitioning to this new role from being the General Manager of a yoga studio run entirely by women, where it was daily practice to express your feelings and emotions, to take a yoga class, to meditate, and to find your centre if you were feeling off. Having the constant support and nurturing environment among women who were there to catch you if you fell was something that I came to rely on as a source of comfort and stability. It’s very easy to feel at ease and maintain balance when you are surrounded by it daily. But what happens when you are thrown into new territory with the same high-level work demands but no external space to draw your strength from? You must turn inward.
I believe this power, this strength, this balance that we all need is deeply rooted in feminine energy. In Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton, she says “To recognize power as feminine is game changing. In the west, we are used to regarding the feminine as essentially receptive, even passive. The tantric sages took the opposite view. Looking deeply into the energies at play in the world, they intuited the feminine as pure creative Eros, the lifeforce behind all evolution and all change… this power comes from an essentially feminine inner source.”
While thinking about this blog post for the Canadian Women’s Foundation, I asked one of the owners of Resilience Fitness, “Why me? Why did you hire me specifically for this role?” He responded by saying, “You are the oil that keeps us going – in essence, the life force behind all movement and growth.”
You will be asked and expected to take on many different roles at different points in your life, often at times when you just don’t have the drive or energy to do so. By recognizing that your power, your feminine life force within, is where true resilience, strength and personal power comes from – not from anything outside of yourself – no one can ever take it away from you. It’s yours.
Own it, use it, embrace it.
Join Tara and her Resilience Fitness team at their Hustle N’ Flow event on Sunday September 11, 2016. This event will raise money for Canadian Women’s Foundation grantees that support women who have experienced sex trafficking.
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